Here it is, 3:00 in the morning, and I am still awake. School will soon be here, and because of my irregular summer sleep patterns, I am afraid that my first month back will be nothing short of torture.
Perhaps this would be a good time to acknowledge that I am preparing to enter my fourth year of college at Weber State University. I am working toward my bachelors degree in dance performance with a minor in fashion merchandising. People often ask, "what are you going to do with that?" It is one of my most hated questions as I have learned over these past few years that people are quick to belittle the things in which they do not understand. People seem to shirk it off as a wasted effort like I am some how throwing away my informative years for an unrealistic childhood dream. The truth of the matter; however, is that God decides my future, and I am where I am, doing what I do, because I love it so much. No, it is not a guarantee that I will ever be hired on with a company (which is something that I would love to do while I am still young enough and my body able), but there are so many other facets of the dance world that make my possibilities endless. Furthermore, I feel that I must point out this simple fact: dancers work there bums off ~ literally ;)
People have a tendency to think that because I am studying something that I love that it is not hard work. That could not be further from the truth. Imagine this: You wake up around 6:30 in the morning so that you might make it to your first class at 7:30 (you would have scheduled it for another time, but since the dance department offers their courses at set specific times, you had to fit it in where you had the availability). From there you rush across campus to make it to your first technique class at 10:00 (it could be modern or ballet depending on what day of the week you are on). It is an hour and a half class that meets three days a week in which you only receive one credit hour.
Once completed, you will have thirty minutes of unscheduled time - "lunch?" you might think, but sadly, there is no time. You now have to make it to the other dance studio in another building and get warmed up for your first rehearsal of the day. For the next two hours - that is right, rehearsals are two hours two days a week, and again, you only receive one credit hour for ALL of your rehearsals. You mean, you auditioned for and were cast in 3 dances for the concert?? Too bad. You still only get one credit hour - for the next two hours you will be working your creativity to explore organic movement, your mind to discuss the philosophical process of an art form, and your body to push yourself physically until you are aching in places you were not even aware you had.
At last, the clock strikes the end of the long awaited second hour, and you stop for a moment to think, "I am done. I made it." Not so fast. You have another rehearsal to attend. Have fun. Your second rehearsal of the day draws to an end, and you have a momentary hour of rest. Of course, you could relax, ice injuries, eat something... If you do, on the other hand, that 15 page English paper, three page dance critique, never ending Nutrition diet analysis homework, and five pages of foreign language assignments will all be waiting for you later that night. PS, you have tests in three of your eleven classes coming up in less than a week.
Your "free-time" hour productively finishes, and you are refreshed enough for another round of technique - jazz. This is another one of the dance departments famous "one credit hour awarded for three to twelve hours per week of class time" courses, but it is one of your funnest classes with one of your favorite teachers; so, despite your physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation, you will make it through.
It is now 5:00 PM. You started at 6:30 this morning, but you are still not to the end of your day. You have another one of your "regular" classes to attend now. It is a three credit hour course which gets you out of the classroom at 6:50 PM. Perfect. You have just enough time to make it up to the gym for your third and final rehearsal of the day. Awe, you are thoroughly drained by this dreadful hour of your day, but it is a rehearsal. Therefore, you must cast your tiredness aside and give it your all. Just think, in two hours it will be 9:00 PM, and you will beon your way home to soak in a hot bath filled with Epsom Salt. It is there that you will find the time to study and reflect on your day.
You finish your bath, and now, you must write your papers. No worries, you will be in bed before 2:00 AM - I promise ;) Besides, if you are not, you can, at least, be thankful that this was your easy day, and you still get to look forward to "Hell Week!" For those of you who do not know, "Hell Week," is what us dancer refer to as the week immediately preceding our three to five day concert (depending upon which theater it is being held), "Orchesis." This concert happens twice a year - once in the Spring, and once in the Fall.
As you can now somewhat see, there is no such thing as "free-time" to a dancer. It is a lot of really difficult work followed by more work, and as a major it is even more difficult. To pursue that matter further, it is something that not everyone is cut out for, and if you do not TRULY love dance, you will not be able to see it through to the end.